This is seriously one of my favorite races. It’s not flashy, there’s a small field, and there is almost no on course support. But, it was my very first long race. 4 years ago… about a month after my first 5k I decided to run the inaugural EQT 10 Miler. I should not have done it but there was a medal, a quarter zip, and it was the very first time they were running the race. Who could pass that up, right?
Packet Pick Up
Since hubs and I were pacing, we also signed up for a volunteer slot at packet pickup. We received a very nice email that they had enough volunteer staff and we were not needed. They had an alternate packet pickup at the local Fleet feet with a bonus free pair of compression socks. He went out to go get our packets there. Regularly, packet pickup is scheduled at the Station Square mall.
First up, let’s be thankful we got an extra hour of sleep last night! It didn’t do me much good. I woke up at 3am when the storms rolled in. Luckily, the storms blew through before the start of the race. We met my dad and then headed down to the start line.
We met up with the Steel City Road Runners for the traditional picture. Then, we ran down to the start line so that I could meet up with my running friends before the pacers meeting. This year, they had plenty of space set up in the corrals so that we could stretch out. My only complaint is that they didn’t have extra speakers out so we could not hear anything before the gun went off.
It was nice and cool but you could feel the humidity in the air. The cloud coverage was great and when we started there wasn’t any rain in sight. As soon as you start the course, you have a small up hill to conquer before you get to Carson street. From there it’s a straight shot to another little hill leading you in to the West End. And guess what…another little hill to get up to the West End bridge. I always love running over the bridge because you get a beautiful view of The Point Downtown.
We were just a little bit ahead of goal time when we hit the 2 mile marker on the bridge. It was a nice cushion to have so that we could walk through the water stops. I like that idea because I’m not a talented water drinker. We wound our way back to Western Avenue. We also found another hill leading us up towards The Commons. Running through The Commons, we saw the relay exchange zone. It was a nice little pick me up to hear all of the cheering.
From there, we went down towards the North Shore and across the Rachel Carson Bridge for a little out and back. This was the first spot that we had small pockets of crowds. After coming back across the bridge, we made our way up to East Ohio Street towards the 16th street bridge. Just before the bridge, I spotted Jen and Django out on the course cheering. It took everything in my not to run off course to pet Django.
Just before the bridge, we spotted a fellow SCRR member with the unofficial beer stop. After getting across the 16th street bridge you have a flat out and back loop. Coming down the last stretch, we prepped the crew that was running with us to get ready for their finish. Everyone was looking so strong the group was already ahead of us by mile 9. They all started to pick it up as we continued to yell encouragement from behind.
We made the final right turn leading in to the finishing shoot and we start to focus on the runners behind us. We were yelling for them to catch up and pass us. Some were excited about the chance to pass other while others looked like they just couldn’t. I’m happy to report that everyone did pass us. This was the most fun that I have had on a race course!
I went back out after I finished to find my dad. His goal for the day was to run with the 12 minute pacers and then pick it up a little in the last few miles for a little PR. Because he can’t run a race without running it just a little faster than last year. I found him just before the final turn and ran him in until I had to jump off the course. Luckily, we left right after that because the skies opened up and the rain came down!
Of course it was also fun getting to check up on all of my friends after the race. There were so many big PR’s! One of the PR’s that I was most excited about was one of my athlete’s. Tonya started off running with me but had picked it up and was out of sight by mile 3 or 4. I caught her right after the finish line. She had a 10+ minute PR which is just huge! She has been training so diligently all season but has been met with tough conditions on every single race day. She has managed a PR every single race but I feel like it just didn’t match the effort that she was putting in. Today was finally her day!